There's a Wage Gap in Wyoming

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CASPER, Wyo. This was one topic up for discussion at Friday's joint committee on minerals, business, and economic development meeting.

The workforce services study shows Wyoming ranked second-to-last in gender pay equity.

Lawmakers on both sides agree it is unacceptable.

"We need to make sure that women receive equal pay for equal work with men. We all feel that way in this state." Said Rep. Mike Greer of Washakie County.

"That gap does not help us in terms of economic development in terms of recruiting and retaining people." Explained Rep. Cathy Connolly of Albany County.

A major reason for such a high discrepancy are the many oil and mineral extraction jobs, which are high paying but male-dominated.

"I deal with a union where wages are transparent and everybody has the same opportunity to bid into those jobs." Said Greer. "And what we do see is a difference between males and females... what types of jobs they migrate to."

"We need to remove them, you know, not the explicit barriers because those are illegal, but the barriers that could exist culturally for women doing those jobs." Said Connelly.

Connolly also says the house will take up at least three bills to help address wage gaps during next year's legislative session.

The bills include higher penalties for equal pay law violations, preventing termination for sharing wage information with others and enforcing equal pay in state agencies.